Anger at PSNI failure to pass over information on murders

Posted By: February 15, 2019


Distributed to Congress by Irish National Caucus
“Today’s Briefing contains further disturbing exposure of what some might see as more police coverup and collusion in Northern Ireland/The North:’Mr. Maguire [police Ombudsman], who is due to retire in July, has said the results of a probe over the murder of 17-year-old Damien Walsh by the UFF in west Belfast in March 1993 has also been delayed.’
In August 2005, I had the honor of being invited by the family of young Damien to give the Damien Walsh Memorial Lecture in Belfast. It was so sad to see the suffering of the Walsh family then, and now, it is appalling to see this family—and the other victims— being re-traumatized all over again by police failures.”—Fr. Sean McManus

Connla Young. Irish News. Belfast. Friday, February 15, 2019

RELATIVES of people killed by loyalists have spoken of their anger and disappointment after it emerged the

PSNI failed to disclose “significant” information on police computers.

The publication of three police ombudsman reports covering more than 20 loyalist murders has now been delayed.

Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire, left, said the new information relates to “sensitive material, intelligence-led material, and includes information [on] covert policing”.

It is understood some of it also relates to a haul of loyalist weapons smuggled into the north in the late 1980s.

The stalled reports include Operation Achille, relating to the murders of five innocent Catholic men by the UDA at Sean Graham bookmakers on Belfast’s Ormeau Road in February 1992.

The results of a second investigation, Operation Greenwich, which relates to 20 murders and attempted murders across several counties between 1988 and 1994, has also been put on hold.

This report includes details about the 1993 ‘trick or treat’ murders of eight people in the Rising Sun Bar at Greysteel, Co Derry.

Mr Maguire, who is due to retire in July, has said the results of a probe over the murder of 17-year-old Damien Walsh by the UFF in west Belfast in March 1993 has also been delayed.

The teenager’s case is the longest running on the ombudsman’s books, having been first referred in 2004.

The PSNI has blamed a combination of human error and the “complex challenges associated with voluminous material” for not releasing the information to the police ombudsman (PONI), who became aware of it as police prepared to disclose material as part of a civil case.

Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin, left, said “we are deeply and sincerely sorry” and insisted the force “never sought to deliberately withhold this information from PONI and we deeply regret that the researchers responding to the PONI request were unable to find and disclose it”.

However, Damien Walsh’s mother Marian was last night dismissive of the apology.

“He didn’t apologise to me personally – I just heard he apologised somewhere to somebody,” she said.

“It is just a sham, and excuses.How come one person was able to find it and yet all these other ones couldn’t?”

She said she had been expecting to receive the results of the ombudsman’s investigation.

“I thought the report must have been ready, but then I was told it wasn’t ready again,” she said.

“This morning, when I saw it all in print, I just broke down.

“I just thought, I am so tired now, I have just got so old, so sick and I don’t know how I am going to go on with this.

“And then I rallied and thought, I have no choice, I have to keep going to see this through.”

A son of IRA man Gerard Casey, who was shot dead by the UFF

in his home at Rasharkin, Co

Antrim, in April 1989, also voiced his frustration. His case is part of the Operation Greenwich series.

“Yet again it has been a setback and it’s disheartening,” Paul Casey said.

“Are the police holding this back deliberately and why were these files never brought forward before?”

Solicitor Niall Murphy said some relatives want PSNI chief constable George Hamilton – who is due to retire later this year – to resign now.

“The families are appalled,” he said.

“Many parents and siblings have passed away even in the last 12 months and people are dying without access to justice.

“People denied truth recovery in these circumstances is a stain on all of us as a society.”

Relatives for Justice spokesman Mark Thompson said: “This matter too will impact families that have already received reports by the office of the police ombudsman in which they fear evidence may not been provided by the PSNI, despite assurances by Dr Maguire that as of today he is not aware of other materials relating to other cases at this stage.

“This concern will especially relate to families who made complaints of collusion in which that complaint was not upheld.”

SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly has called for it to conduct a full inquiry into the failings of the PSNI to disclose the information.

“This is one of the most disturbing developments in policing since the formation of the PSNI,” she said.

Sinn Féin policing spokesman Gerry Kelly also said: “The revelations that the police failed to

disclose key information to investigations by the police ombudsman into dozens of killings by loyalist death squads is appalling and